LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech sophomore Sofia Garcia capitalized on her first collegiate ace Monday afternoon to fire a career low 5-under 66 second round that paced the Lady Raiders over the first 36 holes of the Jim West Challenge held at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands.
Garcia, who fired an even-par 71 opening round earlier in the morning, sank her tee shot at the par-3 16th – her fourth hole of the second round – en route to one of her best performances of her still young Tech career.
Garcia had three birdies and an ace over the first five holes of the second round before proceeding with nine-consecutive pars. She closed the afternoon in a tie for sixth individually, still seven strokes back of Duke's Leona Maguire, who fired a 67 and then a 63 to take a commanding first-day lead.
As a team, Tech enters Tuesday's final round in third place following a 5-under 279 opening round and a 4-under 280 card in the afternoon. The Lady Raiders are three strokes back of second place Oklahoma and 17 swings behind first-day leader Duke.
"I'm really proud of this team for their play today," Tech head coach JoJo Robertson said. "It was a good start for the first round of the year. I'm really excited for this group."
Like Garcia, junior Mami Yamamoto also had a career day as she fired a 4-under 67 to start the tournament. It matched the lowest 18-hole score of her career as Yamamoto signed for an even-par round later in the afternoon to wrap the day in sole possession of 10th individually.
Gabby Barker, likewise, finished under-par over the first two rounds as she was 1-under in the morning before shooting one shot higher later in the day. Barker, who won the Jim West Challenge in 2015, closed the day in a tie for 16th overall, three strokes back of Yamamoto and four behind Garcia.
Emma Ballard signed Tech's final score of the opening round with an even-par card that was the lowest of her Tech career. Ballard, who had previously fired a 73 four times over her career, followed with a 1-over round to close the day in a tie for 22nd overall.
Lauren Mason also ranks among the top 30 individual after shooting 3-over over the two rounds. She is in a tie for 27th individually, while freshman Louisa Brunt, playing as an individual, is tied for 54th overall at 9-over.
Tech enters Tuesday's final round with a nine-stroke advantage over fourth place Kent State and 12 strokes in front of Texas A&M. The final round begins with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start with live scoring provided on Golfstat.com.